Sunday, April 19
The trip south from Fort Wayne had gone very well. Sunday, the 19th
of April, 2015 was a beautiful day, just right for finding old
memories and making new ones. The Elliott Museum was the first
stop. This beautiful facility opened in 2013. The desk staff and
volunteers were so helpful and kind. It had been 10 years since that
last gathering of the Vaughn Monroe Appreciation Society in Stuart so
there had definitely been changes.
I was directed to the motorcycle and automobile section of the museum.
There it was! That 1951 Indian, complete with a write up about
Vaughn’s association with the company and that particular Indian. Also
there was the Movie Poster of “ Singing Guns.” A kind gentleman took
my picture (to prove I actually was there).
In inquiring about the ’59 Mercedes Roadster, I was informed that it
had been removed from display because the condition has deteriorated
badly. It needs thousands of dollars to bring it back for display.
Sidebar: There is a very interesting display for automobiles. A
list is posted of those available to see. A button is pressed for the
one you would like to see and a conveyor system brings the auto front
and center for perusal. Don’t know how long it stays there but
probably a minute or two. This is where the roadster will be displayed
when/if it is restored.
I then went upstairs to investigate the rest of the museum. There is a
very good collection of baseball memorabilia. Stuart is in the middle
of the spring training area for Major League Baseball. The docent
there, a gentleman named Frank, was very generous with his time with
me. He had heard me asking questions about Vaughn and took me around
the corner where there is a life size carved Indian. He said the
museum thought it had belonged to Vaughn. I told him I didn’t know
about that, but I did remember there being an Indian headdress of some
kind that was presented to him during his association with the Indian
Frank also told me of his volunteer time at Martin Memorial
Hospital. Marian was still volunteering until well into her nineties.
She would drive up in her light blue Cadillac and motion (crooked
finger) for him to follow her. He, in the golf cart, would then follow
her to her parking place and proceed to drive her back to the hospital
entrance. He was quite impressed by her dedication to the work of the
hospital. A most business-like but genteel woman, he said.
Sidebar: I would have loved to have
been able meet her and talk to her. She was a woman who was ahead of
There is also an entire room devoted to Frances Langford since Stuart
is her hometown. Lots of memorabilia of her life and career
(including a few of Vaughn) and
the OUTRIGGER. The OUTRIGGER was a restaurant and bar on the water
that she owned and ran. Celebrities who came to town frequented the
establishment. Vaughn was known to be frequent guest during the five
years he lived in Stuart. The restaurant is named something else
now. Miss Langford died and 2005, I believe.
I inquired about somewhere to eat lunch and the head docent directed
me to a restaurant where I had excellent fried oyster roll. MMMM
Then to Martin Memorial Hospital where I found other changes had taken
place. The entire ICU waiting area has been renovated (just
completed). The cabinet with the tribute to Vaughn that had been in
there has been removed. The staff at the desk didn’t know about any of
it. I called back on Monday and spoke to the head of volunteers and
she said she would call me with updated information. According to what
she was able to find out it turns out that when the cabinet was
removed most items were returned to the family after Marian’s
death. There are plans to put his red jacket and Marian’s plaque
(picture?) of service in the board room when the renovation is
An entire new wing of the hospital is named The Frances Langford Heart
Institute. In talking with a volunteer she commented on what a
wonderful, generous person she was.
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church where Vaughn and Marian attended was right
around the corner so I stopped there for a photo op. Obviously quite a
bit of renovation had been done there also. I was able to talk to the
vicar, but she was too young to know anything personally, but
remembers hearing from older members talk about Marian and Vaughn’s
time there and their efforts to make fundraising events a success.
Monday, April 20
It was another gorgeous day and time to find that beautiful home. No
problem. The addition “High Point” is very easy to find. The ride down
High Point Road to 91 past those other homes was very enjoyable and at
the very end around the corner – there it was. It has been taken care
of very well. I stopped to look and take a few pictures. I just sat in
my car. There was a home for sale across the street so I figured if
anyone said anything I could say I was interested in that home for
Now it was time for a tour of old town Stuart. Took a ride in a free
golf cart with a driver very interested in getting the word out about
Stuart. After the riding tour, I then just walked and window shopped
and took pictures. The driver had given me a tip about a restaurant
right on the water that had excellent seafood so off I went to find
Spoto’s Oyster Bar. Oysters on the half shell followed by fried
oysters made me need to walk some more -- just down the street for ice
cream. Have I mentioned that I have eaten VERY well on this trip.
Now, the best and the saddest part. I made my way to the
Fernhill Cemetery office to find out exactly where Marian and Vaughn
were buried. . . a very kind gentleman led me to the place. He says
that there are still quite a few visitors to ask about the Monroes. He
also directed me to a Publix for flowers. When I returned to get the
little metal vases to stick in the ground, he even took the flowers
and cut them for me. I then spent some time at the gravesite saying
goodbye and shedding a few tears.
This man is so special to me. I fondly remember having seen his show
as a high school senior, leading him outside (at his request) for an
autograph session. He was so patient as he talked to everyone and
asked about OUR plans. Fast forward ten years. My husband planned a
surprise birthday dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta and requested
the song “Blue Moon” to be sung for me. It was! You would think that
should be enough for him to be a very special person to me. NOT SO. At
one point in my college career I wrote a note to Mr. Monroe and a
personal reply just blew me away! “Learn the music and then sing the
MEANING of the words TO your audience.” That advice has
stood me in good stead ever since.
My journey was not over, but the main reason for making the journey
had been accomplished. Therefore, there will always be a place in my
heart for "the man and his music."